Northwestern University: Alert system linked to operational hospitals, shorter lockdowns, lives saved

In a new study led by The University of Texas at Austin COVID-19 Modeling Consortium in collaboration with Northwestern University, researchers describe the alert system that has guided COVID-19 policies in Austin, Texas, for more than a year, helping to safeguard the health care system and avoid costly measures. The system tracks the number of new daily COVID-19 hospital admissions and triggers changes in guidance when admissions cross specific threshold values. While using this staged alert system, the Austin metropolitan area has sustained the lowest per capita COVID-19 death rate among all large Texas cities.

“Austin’s alert system was optimized to balance the city’s public health and socioeconomic goals,” said Lauren Ancel Meyers, a professor of integrative biology and director of The University of Texas COVID-19 Modeling Consortium. “For over a year, it has helped our community adapt to rapidly changing risks, protected the integrity of our hospital systems and limited the economic damage.”